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Instead of spending his days in a culinary classroom, Chef Martin Valerio received his culinary education through hard work and dedication in Houston kitchens. He credits his kitchen skills to the chefs he's worked under and the way they ran their kitchens. At the Lancaster Hotel, where he spent the past 11 years, he was a line cook, then chef de cuisine, and finally executive chef for four years.

Today, you can find this up-and-coming chef at The Bird & The Bear Bistro creating cutting edge dishes and reinventing menus from the open kitchen located in River Oaks. Valerio is the first Executive Chef at The Bird and The Bear Bistro, a title passed to him by legendary Houston restaurateur Elouise Adams Jones of Ouisie's Table fame in December 2013.

His cuisine is classic with Mediterranean and Southwest/Mexican influences showcasing the flavors of his Mexican heritage.

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Recipe for foie gras and dates.

Ingredients:

Madjool dates

Maytag bleu cheese

Bacon

Corn syrup

Brown sugar

Paprika

Preparation:

For dates:
Open the date in the middle, take the seed out and fill with maytag bleu cheese,

For bacon ( 1 lb):
1 cup of corn syrup, 3 spoons brown sugar and 1 spoon of paprika

Mix all marinate the bacon in for 30 min.

Pre heat the oven on 350 degrees and bake the bacon half way, take out of the oven let cool, then wrap the dates and finish cooking.

For the foie gras:
Sear the foie gras.

Presentation:

Toast brioch bread (triangles) and place the foie gras on top, and serve with the dates on a plate decorated with candied pecans then drizzle port wine reduction and green pesto on the foie gras and the dates.